Monday, May 12, 2008

Gott Paint

I'm still out and computer problems may further delay a resumption of regular blogging. However, for those planning a Czech excursion, here is a quick review of the Gott Gallery Restaurant.

Karel Gott began his career as a jazz vocalist, performing with the likes of the Gustav Brom Orchestra, but eventually drifted into more pop vocal terrain. While he had the popularity of a Czech Sinatra, it would probably be more stylistically accurate accurate to describe him as a Czech Vic Damone. Popular he was though, and popular he remains with a segment of the population. Some however, judge him harshly for accepting the favors of the Communist regime. For a time in the early 1970's Gott refused to return from an international engagement, but Husak himself made a personal appeal. You might notice wiki and other online bios are strangely silent about the period from 1968-1977.

Gott is sort of like the Communist era Kofola soda, dividing Czechs. Some can enjoy them with a sense of nostalgia, whereas for others they simply leave a bad taste in their mouths. For expats though, he has high kitsch appeal, so the Gott Gallery Restaurant was a natural stop when BC set out to show me around the city again.

The deserts are rich—KG's personal recipes I'm sure, but the art was the main attraction. Gott seems to have a very healthy appreciation of the nude female form, with a bit of Sapphic eroticism thrown in for good measure. Yet, the middle-aged Czech women did not seem did not seem anymore scandalized than we were. His Gaugin and Toulouse-Lautrec influences are immediately obvious. They seem to be the expression of a man accustomed to enjoying life. As a painter, I would say he is no Tony Bennett. I certainly would not make it a priority for those on their first trip to Prague, but it is not over-run by foreign tourists, and for expats and regular visitors it has a bizarre fascination.